Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

[General] Days of Throat Punches

Ah the angry cries of injustice. Throat punching does require a modicum of discretion. I was having a pretty terrible day yesterday. Today, coffee in hand (or rather near hand so that I can still type at a decent speed) and listening to Fly My Pretties, I feel much nicer.

I had a couple of comments yesterday:

The people needing punching are those who can't get it to work! Usually because they have 1 million pieces of crapware on their computer, then blame Microsoft when it doesn't all work.

I have just reinstalled windows and purged my computer of a whole heap of crap. XPSP2 (which I must admit I thought was a reference to the new PlayStation Portable) only got half way through loading, stopped and then said it couldn’t find a file. I found the file but XPSP2 couldn’t. I dunno maybe something was up with my computer that day. SP2 was nice enough to remove all the files it had transferred to my hard-drive.

Doesn't the whole global warming deniers include the guy who said "old mans beard must go!" You know, the guy who is, like, a famous scientist? Who said that lots of glaciers were getting bigger (except the organisation he said recorded the information said he was a retard)? Would you punch him in the throat?

Yes I would, but not as hard; he’s an old man and I’m not completely barbaric. I have a feeling that Dr Bellamy may have gone a little off the deep end. He’s against global warming; I went to a talk by him where he said so. But then he went and said that glaciers were getting bigger. What’s going on!? He was, and still is, against wind farms for their inefficiency. I would agree to an extent, but at least they are something. I would also punch him at the end of a conversation because he is a jolly nice chap to talk to. [Note: Hackers et al get the punch at the beginning]

Also the person who works for IBM and devised this horrible keyboard (check out where the delete, home and end keys are) that I am using gets one right in the throat AND at the start of the conversation. Give me Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will he. Carpal tunnel sounds cooler and more sci-fi than, RSI, OOS or Kangaroo Paw.

To end on a non-throat punching topic: yesterday Jose sent me these great office pranks. I will supplement his with these ones I found a little while ago. Here is one of my favourites and one of the least destructive:

Do a "Print Screen" of the user's desktop, and then paste the image from the clipboard to a photo program, and save the image as a bitmap. Then, set the 'snapshot' of their desktop as the actual desktop wallpaper. (You'll have to hide the Windows status bar, and move all their desktop icons into a folder, which you can hide conspicuously in the corner or something.) The user will see their desktop as always, but everything on it will appear to be frozen when they try to click on it

Anyone who uses them on me will suffer a throat punch.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

[General] F*cktards (without swearing)

Roll up, roll up.

If I meet any one who says:

  • That they work for IBM
  • That they are a “hacker” or have written a virus
  • That they love Microsoft XP’s Service Pack 2
  • That they think Don Brash has some good ideas
  • That they want to see some “real evidence” about global warming
  • That people who surf the net waste work time
  • The lies of a politician and claim that it’s the truth
I will punch them in the throat. A good throat punch is sometimes the best way to solve the world’s problems.

A throat punch says to someone that they needed to check their facts before speaking. That they wanted to maybe be a bit nicer to another person rather than just f*cking everyone off or over.

Speaking of Don Brash I heard some juicy gossip about him the other day which I shall in no way publish here. But if you really hate him I suggest call him Dan Brash instead. Somehow it’s really funny

Monday, June 27, 2005

[Sport] The Tackle Debacle

[ED NOTE: this post will have hyperlinks added on Tuesday]

Well it’s on the front page of the Dom Post. What looks like, damning evidence against All Black captain Tana Umaga. Umaga and Kevin Mealamu either side of B&I Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll, each holding a leg and dumping O’Driscoll head-first into the ground.

This is the same Tana Umaga who was given a “fair play” award by the Welsh team a few years ago. But it is also the man who said “this isn’t tiddlywinks”. By the way, for you trivia buffs Tana’s real name is Jonathan Falefasa Umaga.

Many commentators are saying Umaga and Mealamu couldn’t do it purposefully because it isn’t in their nature. I don’t want to comment on that. We seem to view our player through rose-tinted glasses. We grinned as Chris Jack got rucked (and rightly so) for lying on the ball and Chris Jack grinned as he was punched in the face after pulling down a player (don’t remember which one) in the line out. Richard Loe’s eye gouging incidents have become a laughable joke now. Perhaps we laugh because they were censured.

The judiciary from other SANZAR nations have viewed the tapes and found no cause for a case against Umaga and Mealamu. However they suspended Danny Grewcock for two months for biting Mealamu’s hand and sent O’Connell to the bin for a professional foul n the 12th minute. The Lions are going to be pissed in the next game.

How should Umaga handle this? He has been barred from the media. It’s probably too late but he should ring O’Driscoll and apologise. Actually he should meet O’Driscoll somewhere private and buy him a beer (the way to an Irish heart is through the liver) and explain the situation to him. I think we all believe that there was no malice in the tackle; he needs to explain that to the Irish captain, because O’Driscoll is pretty pissed off right now.

Here’s something a bit more light-hearted.

I, as was mentioned on Friday, have to watch the rugby on TV3. Which is cool, I don’t need Sky (except maybe in the NFL season). The part that I hate is the TV3 commentary team. Hamish McKay is the world’s largest talking penis. I have to laugh though because unlike the normal set-up: one play-by-play commentator and one colour commentator (maybe with one sideline reporter); TV3 has nine colour commentators, 27 sideline reporters and no play-by-play. Moreover, every two minutes they have to say “All Black rugby: free on Three” or similar slogans.

Another quirk of the TV3 team is the “Echo Effect”™. What happens is one of the commentators will make a keen insight or bring up an interesting fact, the rest of the 900-strong commentary team will then repeat this fact/insight solidly for the next ten minutes and then ease it off logarithmically over the rest of the game. The effect usually ends with Hamish McKay he is always the last person to say it and the most likely to repeat it much later.

Note: there was no Mark “Brian-lover” Allen this week. Perhaps he realised his job required him to watch (and enjoy watching) men in short-shorts and tight shirts touch and grapple each other.

I made a point of writing down a few of the better lines from the TV3 commentary team (seems they were saving them up for the test matches).

At the start of the game from Hamish McKay:

  • “This is what we’ve been waiting for. It’s like counting down the sleeps until Christmas…Rugby Christmas!”
Continually through out the entire game from Ian Kirkpatrick (he was trying for the Echo Effect but it was never picked up):
  • [About Sitevini Sivivatu] “He loves chopping off his left foot!”
Hamish McKay again about the British reporters
  • I can feel them sharpening their typewriters
Let’s talk about a different sport now ay? How about league?

Yes I did say that the Warriors wouldn’t win.
“The Warriors are going to lose to the Broncos. Don’t be silly of course they are. It’s karma for that whole Shaun Metcalf thing”
Here is my excuse. That quote was before I knew they were doing a ten year anniversary game with retro jerseys, island drummers and everything. See, the Warriors of old lost to the crap teams and beat the good teams. Success depends on whether there are more good teams or crap teams.

How about some English tennis?

Safin’s gone Serena’s gone. Tim Henman has gone, perhaps for good this time as the British fans have found another hero. I’ll talk more about the tennis when it gets a bit further along.

People are still whining about the Indy F1 farce. Basically Michelin and the FIA both screwed up and left the American fans and promoters high and dry. But more has leaked about Bernie Ecclestone (F1 boss) and Danica Patrick (female indy car prodigy). Turns out not only did Bernie say to the press that Danica couldn’t race in F1 because all women should be domestic appliances (or some shit) he also rang her up and said the same thing straight to her. Danica said she was quite upset but put it behind her, and then someone in the press said “how do you feel about Ecclestone’s comments?” She was all like “How do you know he said it to me on the phone?” Then she found out he said it in public too. She was heavily pissed off.

Too f*cken right.

Maybe Bill English (whose real name is Simon, but would you vote for a Simon?) has been hanging out with Bernie. Under a National government we would have more single-sex schools. Apparently they do better than co-ed schools. This seems statistically wrong some-how. A quick check of the Ministry of Education site reveals no explicit evidence that supports English’s claim. However, I am not going to say that he is lying (a politician lying? Never!) I may come back to this issue in a non-sports post.

I’m changing jobs again on Wednesday so I may miss a post about the Netball. Go Silver Ferns! Irene you’re a real honest-to-Godzone Kiwi now, you have so much more to fight for!

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Quick Sunday night post.
All Blacks won and so did the Warriors. Good show!

On a complete other topic:
Here are two photos that had to be shared

This guy is quite clearly lonely. If you think you know him please phone and talk to him. (Anyone who rings me as a joke will get an angry tirade)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

and a much cooler photo

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Saturday, June 25, 2005

[Sport] What's coming this weekend?

Here’s a tip: Bet on the Lions.

The odds are that they won’t win but, and this an important but, if they do you will get much more money than you would betting on the Abs. This also works for office pools where picking the Lions will net the whole stash if they win by even one point.

I will point out again that I do not condone gambling, and if you lose your money no crying in my direction.

By the way, British reporters have placed themselves in a good position leading into this test. If the Lions win it is because they are great; if they lose it is because the management team is too unwieldy OR (for Welsh reporters) because Sir Clive Woodward is racist against the Daffodil nation (Wales).

I believe that the All Blacks will win on Saturday. I believe that I will be pissed off at the inane commentary of TV3’s 400 strong team of idiots. I often wonder which one has more people: the Lions management team or the TV3 Rugby commentary team. And if Bull Allen mentions Bishop Tāmaki I’m turning it off. The sound not the game, I’ll do my own bloody commentary. Actually if you ask my partner she’ll tell you I already do, even when I’m alone ::sigh::.

Here is what I am hoping. I hope that when the All Blacks do the Haka, everyone in the stadium joins them. International rugby players have said how scary the haka looks and sounds. Imagine how freaky it would be if 50,000 or so fans were doing it at the same time. Rock & Roll.

Is there any other sport on this weekend?

Wimbledon is still going. But that has been boring for the moment.

The Warriors are going to lose to the Broncos. Don’t be silly of course they are. It’s karma for that whole Shaun Metcalf thing.

The Pistons are going to go home and think about what happened. They lost in game seven to the Spurs, who won their second title in three years. Well done Spurs. Dom picked you to win but I don’t think he thought it would take you seven games.

Roughly 9,897,651 games of baseball will be played. Speaking of which, did anyone catch that Onion article the other week?

NBA Postseason interrupted by NBA Preseason

How is that baseball going anyway? The top AL team is the Chicago White Sox (49-22) and the top NL team is the St Louis Cardinals (45-27). Dom will have some kind of explanation why the Yankees are five games behind the Orioles and 4.5 games behind the Red Sox.

But don’t worry baseball fans after approximately (and this figure is not a joke) 2,130 games we have another (also not a joke) 2,146 to go! That’s right it’s nearly half way through the season.

It’s short but it’ll do (said the pastor to the model), have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

[General] F*cktards Uncut

Listen up fucktards. Actually I’m pretty sure that no fucktards actually read this. In fact I’m pretty certain fucktards don’t read anything.

So listen up fucktards in a virtual sense. Readers please pass these pearls of information onto any fucktards that you may know.

Fucktards, if you don’t know anything about an issue, shut up. I know it can be hard, but seriously, shut the **** up. Mad Butcher, National Party members; I am looking in your direction; which is hard because you’re not all in the same place.

What is this morning fucktard-commentable issue?

The Food Safety Authority is doing a review of food practices. It is the first major review of food controls in 25 years and is intended to be used to set up regulations whose objectives would include reducing the New Zealand food-poisoning rate, which is the highest in the developed world.

The last paragraph is a paraphrased version of the most important part of the NZ Herald article. If you read that, you are of course not a fucktard and do read, you would say to yourself “that sounds reasonable”.

I will now tell you what Food Safety Authority executive director Dr Andrew McKenzie said in the article. I will place Dr McKenzie (Andy) near the beginning because the Herald buried him near the end. Andy said that the FSA wanted as little regulatory intervention as possible. "Especially in areas like this that are almost icons of Kiwiana, but, at the same time, [the FSA] must ensure risks to the public are minimised."

Sounds very reasonable.

The Herald article’s headline was, however, “Classic Kiwi Sausage Sizzle Under Threat”.

Feel any different now?

The Mad Butcher, Peter Leitch sure did. Mr Leitch “has been involved in fundraising sausage sizzles for 35 years” and he thought the review was a "load of rubbish". He continued, "I don't see why we should be changing. It's another nail into the coffin of freedom in this country. People have sausage sizzles outside the Warehouse, or outside the Mad Butcher - no one gets sick or dies. To me it is just ludicrous."

Strong words; strong words. Thanks for the concern Pete, can I call you Pete? I assume that you guys are already following these guidelines about BBQing. See the last time I got a sausage from a Sausage Sizzle was a week or so ago (it was free too!). The snags weren’t kept cold before cooking, the same tongs were used for the raw meat, the cooked meat AND the onions. The only good thing was that the people were all wearing gloves. [please note I still ate it (did I mention it was free!). I also assume that you’ve read all of these Pete, because the Classic Kiwi Sausage Sizzle® has had regulatory rules for a long ol’ time.

You see this is what I mean about fucktards. Pete said that the review was a “load of rubbish”. A review of public safety is a load of rubbish? And at this stage it’s still just a review. What happens if the FSA says Sausage Sizzles are fine as they are? Is it still a load of rubbish? Fucktards (sorry I can’t stop saying it now). “Another nail into the coffin of freedom in this country”, I mean, come on!

Then again this man is a peddler of meat products (and a very successful one too). His alter-ego is a name usually reserved for psycho killers. Can we really expect a decent quote on an issue from this man? The Herald thought so. And in defence of Pete, I doubt the Herald would have given him the full story. Still a non-fucktard would say “I hope that the FSA don’t impose more regulations on the Classic Kiwi Sausage Sizzle®.”

Pete’s assumption that the review would impose more regulations could lead one to suspect that maybe some thing is rotten in the Classic Kiwi Sausage Sizzle® world. Doth the butcher protest too much? Well doth he?

Still it wouldn’t be a minor issue in an election year without a National Party member going off on a non-informative anecdote.

National MP Katherine Rich (Kath) said she “knew a woman who, after 15 years at the Wanaka A&P Show, was giving up selling her homemade jam to raise funds for Save The Children” and that “more rules meant she may have to register her kitchen.”

Um…do I have to point all of the flaws out? No wonder Labour don’t bother hassling these guys, it would take too bloody long. Just don’t get recorded calling one of them a “fucktard” in a select committee. A woman is giving up selling jam after 15 years; is she giving up because of the review? Well the review is still being conducted so probably not. Maybe she made crap jam. Maybe she can’t be bothered making bloody jam anymore. Have you ever made jam? It’s quite laborious.

I hate election years. Prepare for more meaningless anecdotes. Oh Kath by the way, anecdotal evidence is usually the worst kind (yes, I am aware of how qualitative evaluation works). I know someone whose daughter got seriously ill after eating a sausage from a Classic Kiwi Sausage Sizzle®. See how they work both ways?

Well that’s enough about sausages. But I’m not finished with fucktards.

Reading Hard News yesterday got me all riled up. I already knew that Donald Brash was a fucktard, but I never knew how much of one he was. Turns out he is a climate change denier. Sigh. Will someone who knows his email address please send him this. Mr Brash, who am I kidding, I can call you Donny can’t I? Donny wants to see evidence that says that global warming (please read: climate change) is happening and that it is being caused by humans before he will consider ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. There is evidence everywhere someone just give it to him already.

Oh Donny boy, the pipes the pipes are calling.

See this isn’t a rant about sausages or about climate change. It’s mainly about fucktards. Keep your mouths shut.

The end.
Ps. remember: end of the world coming soon.

Monday, June 20, 2005

[Sport] Cambo: First Blood

More on that title (which I was the first to use by the way) later.

Please note that, while I continue to write about sport, I do not wish to distract you from the impending doom that will be upon us in the next 50years. Please refer to the countdown in the side-bar.

Now let’s get you distracted with sport.

The Indianapolis F1 Grand Prix was run last night. The “Schu” (Michael Schumacher) won at the Brick-yard again (his 4th US victory). Of course he was only racing five other cars and the only one that really had a show of beating him was his team-mate Reubens Barrichello.

Why only six cars on the grid? Because, they were from the only three teams that use Bridgestone tyres. The other teams use Michelin tyres and after Ralf Schumacher’s crash on Friday (and the subsequent withdrawal of a new batch from Michelin) the Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe. Apparently an extra chicane would have solved the problem but the F1 officials said “No dice” (I don’t know if that is what they actually said but it is a good enough approximation).

So the drivers and teams that pulled out are angry at F1 and the guy who runs it, Bernie Ecclestone. Bernie Ecclestone is pointing the finger at Michelin. I don’t like Bernie Ecclestone (more on him later) but I have to agree with him. Michelin knew what the track was like, they knew all the specs and they knew that they have multi-million dollar contracts with each of those teams. Maybe they should have made a tyre that didn’t spontaneously deflate on a high speed corner.

The fans were, understandably pissed off. Some apparently even threw cans onto the track.

However who said it was all doom and gloom. From FoxSports:

The happiest driver may have been Tiago Monteiro of Portugal, whose third place gave him his first F1 points and first podium finish.
Monteiro, who drives for Jordan, qualified 17th on Saturday and knew he didn't have a competitive car - until the boycott eliminated almost all of the competition.
"We always hope for a crazy race, to get the points. But I would never imagine a situation like that," Monteiro said. "It is a sad race. It's a shame what happened, but I'm happy, really excited, myself."
Have a look for Tiago on the leader board. And just for fun, here are the constructors’ standings.

Now back to Bernie Ecclestone. He has quickly climbed the ranks of my “idiots I hate” list. Mr Ecclestone has made comment on female driving sensation (not my words though she is very bloody good!) Danica Patrick.

When asked by a reporter whether or not Danica would do well in the F1, Ecclestone said (and again I’ll paraphrase, read the link for the actual quote) “Yeah wasn’t she good, but she should really just stay in the kitchen”. Son of a _ _ _ _ _!

Despite the fact the F1 (and all other motorsport) is just a much faster version of driving a car and requires neither immense physical musculature nor any other “masculine” traits, women are still in the minority. (No women driver jokes, please). Women are also, as has been noted here before, lighter and so are better on fuel economy etc that F1 teams pay millions of dollars to engineer. Save millions on engineering, hire a woman.


We interrupt this blog to mention that New Zealander Michael Campbell has just won the US Open. Kia Kaha, ka pai! He’s going to take home USD$1,170,000 (NZD$1,633,738.59). He beat out Tiger Woods who ended up second, with two strokes over (Campbell was even for the tournament). This from ESPN made me laugh a little:

The Maori tribesman from Wellington has six wins on the European PGA Tour.

“Tribesman”? Any way, well done Cambo. You are now worthy of favourable comparison with the great Bob Charles.


I don’t like cricket much but I do like the Australians losing. So last night it was reported that Bangladesh had beaten (World Champion) Australia in a tri-series match. This morning Australia was beaten again, this time by England. See with cricket it can take just a single player of brilliance to win a match, and that is what Bangladesh had. Well done lads! We will want to see more of this, developing nations finding their footing and actually winning matches.

Back to rugby now. The Lions have added another person to their extensive entourage (theirs is only eclipsed by the large numbers who follow boxers). This one is a “code breaker”. Scott Johnson will prowl the sidelines of the first test match between the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions. His official title is “water carrier” but what he is actually doing is analysing the opposition attack: line outs; back lines; scrums etc. When a Lions player is injured he can run on with water and tell the players what’s happening.

Naturally All Black management is unhappy about this. But rugby is a funny game, there this sense of “well we don’t like what they’re doing but we’ll let them do it because complaining about it will make us look like sissies”. Did any one else applaud Otago captain Craig Newby for saying “they cheated all night and got away with it, and good on them”.

This code breaker thing is unusual. Basically “code breaker” is an incorrect term, a better one would be “spy”. See his job is to interpret the numbers, gestures and play calls that the players make on the field so he can go and tell the players things like: “if they call blue at the line out, it’s a throw to the front”.

In American football the coaches cover their mouths with clipboards because opposition coaches learned how to lip read and the signals go through a microphone straight into the QB’s helmet. This “code breaker” guy is basically going to be close enough to the players to hear what they say on the pitch. It means (and please no jokes) you could take away the players brains because they don’t have to figure anything out for themselves. I still believe that on-field tacticians (like Carlos Spencer, Andrew Mehrtens and Taine Randell) have the edge though. A deadly, flat defensive line? Chip and chase or kick through. No one covering the fringes of the ruck? Pick-and-go.

To really counter this bloke the All Blacks should speak in te reo Māori. Then they could change the description instead of just using code words. They could describe in detail what is going to happen and none of the opposition would be any the wiser.

Ka kite

Sunday, June 19, 2005

[General] Scott Takes the Bishop by the Horns

ED: Hee hee, sorry I just realised that I said Brian Tamaki had horns in the title of this post. Complete accident I assure you (if you will, fate guided my hand).
The following post was actually an email written to me by Scott (ethicist, brother-in-law, way smarter than me) and has been published here with no permission being asked let alone given. Please enjoy.

Just some interesting bunch of announcements this weekend:

Brian Tamaki has decided to be a bishop:
I dunno why not Pope. It wouldn't be the first time the world has had two popes. Guess he needs something to work up to. Maybe he needs to "rescript" some more traditions before that. Meanwhile, his church wants to publish a video explaining the gay community to us (I still laugh every time I think of Murray Deaker talking about Lesbians "infiltrating NZs institutions". Paranoid Schizophrenics should not smoke weed whilst channel browsing from sky porn to the news).

Almost funny sidenote. Bishop Tamaki's first address after ascending to bishophood? 11PM, EST (I kid you not. They use EST), "First Fruits Service from our newly ordained Bishop Tamaki." I would have thought pope would be first fruit. Bishop should only be second or third fruit. Oh well.

Meanwhile TVNZ and RNZ can no longer really be taken seriously in terms of investigative reporting, as they can't do it in secret. Nice parting shot from ACT to ruin state owned journalism (Unless my Big Two predictions come to pass (ACT will stay in parliament using Nixon-esque escapades (Nixon-esquepades?), and National will win the election)).

Friday, June 17, 2005

[General] Quickie at Work

Hey guys just a note to say that the crappy countdown I put up last night is coming down.

I think I might try javascript instead of html (saving the world is harder than it looks).

When I figure out exactly how it's done I'll post up the code for everyone to add it to their websites.

Now I gotta run before the internet-usage Nazis get me.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

[Sport] Education time

To those readers from the Northern Hemisphere, or where rugby is not played extensively, I would like to offer some sporting information.

The All Blacks is the name given to New Zealand’s national rugby team. It is not a derogatory term; they play in all black uniforms (with a silver fern logo on the chest) and have done so since the 1890’s.


Prior to the 1890’s the uniform was dark navy with a gold fern, prior to the black uniforms they were known as the New Zealand Natives. This was also not meant to be derogatory as it referred to people who had been born in New Zealand rather than those who had immigrated.

This is the basic uniform of all of our sporting teams. As far as I know, we are the only nation whose national colour is black. It says a lot about us I think. Our national netball team, by the way, went in a different direction when looking for a name and is called the Silver Ferns.

All of New Zealand’s national sports teams are now named on a similar theme:

Rugby (Men) --------------- All Blacks

Netball ----------------------- Silver Ferns

Cricket (Men) -------------- Black Caps

Field Hockey (Women) - Black Sticks

Rugby (Women) ---------- Black Ferns

Basketball (Men) -------- Tall Blacks (which must have caused some strange looks at the World Basketball Champs in America a couple of years ago)

Basketball (Women) ---- Tall Ferns

Wheelchair Rugby ------- Wheel Blacks

Soccer ----------------------- All Whites (they play in white)

Cricket (Women) -------- White Ferns

American Football ------- Iron Blacks

Softball ----------------------- Black Sox (yes, we know this one is technically taken)

Badminton ------------------ Black Cocks

Wait, what was that last one?

Seriously, this is what they are currently called; not officially of course. It is a reference to shuttlecocks, but you knew that. I think that it started as a joke and now they need to distance themselves from it before it becomes the norm.

The Australian team, who New Zealand is currently playing, said that they would not consider calling themselves the Cockatoos, spoilsports.

I’ll see you later: I’m scheming on a plan it’s….

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

[General] It's the end of the World as we know it

…and I feel fine.

Really fine, because I know for a fact that we (as human beings) have maybe 100 years tops before the Earth is so screwed it can longer support us. And I’ll be dead by then. And if I’m not, then I will be (if you catch my logic). So this means I can plan ahead without worrying about the environment et al.

This post is about the end of the world. If you would rather find out for yourself how this is all going to end then I should point out that the following post contains [[SPOILERS]].

(That’s a joke by the way).

Remember the World Bank’s small report detailing how on our current path the Earth will be sucked of resources (and it will be too late to turn things around) in about 50-100 years. 50 years is a little close for comfort but still gives me a lot of time.

Noticed how it was big news for one day and then it disappeared. Hands up who thought that was because the problem went away? My opinion was that this should have been a special news coverage event like September 11, 2001. That day 2,986 people died. This report by the World Bank killed 6,446,131,400. Actually the death toll will be much higher as that number is just the CIA’s July 2005 estimate.

If some Hippy in a dirty pair of jeans and sandals came up to me and said “stop using oil” I would tell him, politely to go away (it never hurts to be polite). Now, if the World Bank says that we should curb our use of things like oil I sit up and listen. One dude (and I use the term loosely) I told this to said, “Oh, the World Bank said that, well I wouldn’t believe them”.

Perhaps the World Bank knows this and is using reverse psychology on us. Who knows? All I know is: if someone tells you that you are on fire, it is better to check and tempt ridicule than burning to death.

So we’re off to Hell. How are we going to get there? In a handbasket you say, excellent! Wait a second, maybe I should try to stop this, what can I do? I’ll tell you:

Sweet Jack All!

You see there are too many people who are heading in the wrong direction for us to turn around. Actually that’s incorrect. There are only a few, but they are the ones with all of the power. For example, if you would like a little cry, try this from Public Address:

Meanwhile, at the same time that the national academies of science for all the G8 countries, along with those of Brazil, India and China, issue an unprecedented joint statement urging governments to take urgent action on climate change - with a particular focus on the Bush White House - it is being reported that a former oil industry lobbyist in the White House has been repeatedly altering or removing information about climate change from official reports. A senior Environmental Protection Agency scientist told the New York Times these actions have produced "somewhat of a chilling effect." The Times has obtained copies of the documents bearing the actual alterations.

See what I mean. When the guy (or girl) in control of most of the pollution got rich on, and into power with, money from pollution-based industries it is quite unlikely that they are going to turn around and say “right, let’s stop all of this”.

But wait, if enough of us gather together all over the world we can… Let me stop you there. Remember the protests about the (then about-to-happen) Iraq war? Have a look at the numbers while you’re there. ~10,000,000 people said that they didn’t want something and it still happened. They represent only 0.15 percent of the world’s population. However, leaders see this as 99.85 percent support of their plans and go ahead. 51 percent of the world’s population (3,287,527,014 people) is never going to protest about anything. You go to everyone and explain to them that they will die a long slow death over the next 50 years unless enough people protest and they still won’t protest. Maybe I’m being pessimistic.

We could vote them out? Nah, you see there are f*cktards, like the guy I mentioned before (“the World Bank are liers”), who vote for the same party over and over again. Voters in some countries (::coughamericacough::) shouldn’t even bother voting any more.

Here is what we need, (at least what I think we need, I welcome other suggestions and ideas). You ready?

A dirty big countdown clock.

Something on at least one major news network showing just how much we all have left. Like the Doomsday Clock only digital. It could be superimposed over all the bulletins so if you start to watch something about, say, political infighting, you can see the clock and say, “Wait a second that is my life ticking away and those f*ckers are arguing about who should get the foreshore!” (By the way the answer is, given the topic of this post: Whoever won’t f*ck it up). While you watch these muntards releasing doves and crying you can say, “Wow, I thought this mattered but it doesn’t”.

And that’s the thing that people have to overcome. The world will basically end sometime in the next 50-100 years (crazy Old Mother Earth still keeping us guessing), so whatever you think is currently the most important thing in the world is actually not.

Here is a list (I’m trying to keep things local):

  • Education
  • Boy Racers
  • Immigration (Th’y t’’k ‘’r j’b – that’s a South Park joke)
  • Seabed and Foreshore
  • Policing
  • Flu vaccinations
  • Religion
  • Homosexuals (and/or civil unions)
  • Unemployment

All of these things are not that important anymore and should only rank as high as second on your list of priorities. Number one should be:

“Remember that the world will end in the lifetime of my children or grandchildren.”

As far as I know this is the first time in history that human could say that with any certainty.

So, if any of you have a website I suggest that you put a “countdown clock” on it like this one (or these). If you run a television show, put a countdown on it (even if it’s a sitcom). Set it to hit zero at about March 2056 (or a bit later if you are more relaxed). We need people to be constantly reminded that this is all the time they have left. And, because we can’t do anything about it (thanks World Leaders and Muntards, you do us proud), we need to fill in these last 50-or-so years completely.

As the Kung Fu Monkey says (and who is going to argue with a Kung Fu Monkey?):

"Everybody who wants to live in the 21st Century, over here. Everybody who misses the 1800's over there. Good, thanks. Good luck with that."

ps. I was talking about this tonight to my partner and she mentioned that if it's all over in 50 years time then that means we really only have 20 or so years before life starts getting shitty. Have a good day :)

[Sport/General] Finally, the rugby story

Good day ladies and gents.

Welcome to my first blog-from-home (actually, I’m writing this at work and then I’ll email it home and post it from there). There’s going to be another post soon, I promise. No seriously. This is taking longer than usual though because my broadband hasn’t been installed yet. Yeah, I know, I’m a troglodyte, but it will be here on Monday.


It takes five (5) working days to connect to Telecom’s Jetstream “broadband” system (“broadband” because it’s only 256kbps). What (in the vernacular du jour) is up with that?! I bet they just have to press a button. “Sorry Sir, it takes five working days to press that button”.

Wanna hear about me meeting the NZ Māori team? Well most you regular readers would have heard about it already (because I’ve been telling everyone in earshot or anyone who even looks at me for more than a second).

I flew up on Tuesday (last week) for a reception being thrown for the team by the Minister of Māori Affairs, Parakura Horomia (who has the best handshake I have ever…um…shook?). The reception was to honour the Māori team both past and present and to name the squad that would play the Lions. I did the rounds with pen, notebook and BOP jersey in hand.

I spoke to Wayne Ormond (pictured in a previous post) and got his signature on my Bay jersey. I congratulated him on a good game against the Lions (for the Bay). He mumbled thanks and seemed happier signing autographs than talking. “Weird” I thought until I spoke to more players.

Sean Hohneck was the same. He went to school in Waiuku with my partner and so I thought there would be an “in” for a casual conversation (just a short back and forth, Christ, I’m not asking him out or anything). But again weird, embarrassed mumbling. Later I spoke to a few people about this and they said that players often get really insular and are unsure of how to talk to someone who isn’t part of the rugby fraternity (or a journalist).

Carlos Spencer was a bit better. When I mentioned that he had an awesome game for the Lomu 15 he kind of froze a little. I got his autograph for my brother-in-law Scott, who is giant Carlos fan.

I met Marty (robbed of an All Black jersey) Holah in the loo. I didn’t talk to him though because how awkward would that conversation be?

After the naming of the squad the players did an impromptu haka. I ripped open my bag and scrambled for my camera which refused to turn on when I got it out and so I missed a great photo opportunity. I did get them singing a waiata later. I found out that the team had learned the words only two days beforehand and that Rua Tipoki and Piri Weepu were the originators of the actions.

You see that’s what separates the NZ Māori from all other teams: culture. Not Māori culture as such but the familial sense that you got from these guys. At dinner they were goofing around like brothers with Matiu Te Pou as a father figure, highly respected. More on this later.

I was also part of a select group that accompanied the Minister and the team to dinner. We had to drop our stuff at the hotel first and so when we got there (Hamilton’s Lone Star restaurant) the only seats available were with the team. They were ploughing into plates full of ribs that were dotted round the table. The guy next to us (Stu Foster) passed us the plate and said help yourself. So we did.

After a while we were stuffed and waitress came round and collected the plates. She came back and said “you guys ready to order?” A giant pile of ribs in an entrée to an All Black. The boys all ordered giant slabs of meat (steak and pork, no chicken). I got mussels.

One thing that surprised me was that the players were drinking. So much so that at one point they had to designate a sober driver (well done boys).

If you want to drink like a B&I Lions beating rugby player here are your options.

  • New Zealand red wine (Shiraz)
  • Montieths Radler (that’s the “green” one that tastes like Lemon and Lime)
  • Budweiser (actually only Carl Hayman was drinking this. Don’t ask why, I don’t know).
  • Milkshakes (seriously they were drinking red wine and milkshakes).

When the food came Daniel Braid got a hunk of roast pork larger in diameter than a CD and a good inch and a half thick. He ate it all. That is probably one of the reasons that they are so damn big.

I could barely see Sean Hohneck through the clouds, Corey Flynn shoulders were roughly two metres across and Carl Hayman was just massive. When I shook Jonno Gibbes’ hand, it enveloped my own making it all the more stupid when I got his autograph.

Was it me who inspired them to victory? I like to think that it was. Sure it was Mat Te Pou’s last game as coach (after 11 years of being the most successful coach in NZ modern rugby history). But in the huddle I’m sure you could hear Gibbes during the game yelling:

“Come on guys do it for that skinny little white kid who was at our table the other night. You know the one who’s book we signed. He obviously had some sort of disease, remember how small and frail he was? Do it for him!”

And they did. Thrashing (which is a small piece of hyperbole, but please permit me) the Lions 19-13. A small part of me wanted Jonno Gibbes or Marty Holah to come off so that Wayne Ormond could run on, but I didn’t mind after Jonno’s giant tackle that has been replayed so often since the match.

Read Dom’s piece about the All Black selection below cause I can’t be bothered writing about it now (which means I probably will eventually).

I spent most of Tuesday night talking to manager of the NZ Māori who said he had been there for five years. I spoke about the new NPC structure and all the other stuff I complain about here. He generally agreed. This shocked me; does this mean my rants are right? Probably not, I think I impressed him though.

He agreed that the American NFL system is the best and said it was widely acknowledged. Matt Te Pou apparently even met with NFL officials a few years back to try and get some idea on how they run things. He was against the salary cap though opting instead for market forces to drive player salaries and he didn’t believe that it would spread the talent across the provinces.

When I said that the middle of the new NPC structure looked just like a money making venture. He said yes of course it is; you can’t stop the richer teams from getting richer. Of course he’s right. Teams like Canterbury and Auckland will make heaps more money than Manawatu and Tasman (the new Marlborough/Nelson Bays). But, and this was his most important point, those four games that Manawatu (I’m just using them as an example don’t get angry) play at home in the new NPC will net them more money than they would’ve made in an entire season in the old Second Division. He said “put the big provinces in there and the money will roll in”. What he means is that if Auckland plays Manawatu (at Manawatu) then not only will a big bunch of locals go to the game, but a few Auckland supporters will come down as well and spend some money.

Man this guy was smart. He introduced me to the coaching staff (hongis all round*) including Matt Te Pou. They are all really good guys and they were all very smart. It was this attitude and culture that made this team special. It was almost the atmosphere that you expect from a club rugby side. Very jovial, everyone smiling, even the occasional outburst of song. At one table some of the guys were playing cards. I’m not sure how the All Blacks do things but I can’t see it being like this. I saw the All Black coaching staff having a late dinner after the BOP game and they didn’t look anything like these guys, uptight and grumpy looking.

*A quick side story about an ex-workmate of mine. We went to a hui and there was a round of introductions. One of the delegates, a very large guy, came over to introduce himself. He went to hongi my workmate, who, I should point out is not from New Zealand. As the guy leaned in my workmate gave him a peck on the cheek. He sure wasn’t expecting that.

We left the Lone Star at about 10.30ish (because of a 7am flight back the next day) and they were still there drinking (they didn’t have to get up and train the next day). Here’s a funny story. I like watching TV before I go to sleep (ask my partner, she’ll tell you how annoying it is). So I switched of the lights and jumped into bed, I was watching some crap on TV3 so I changed the channel. Or at least I thought I did. With the lights out I couldn’t see the remote so I just pressed what I figured was the right button, it wasn’t. The TV began to screen the in-house video which, at that time of night, was porn. With embarrassing hotel bills and slaps from my girlfriend racing through my mind I frantically pressed buttons on the remote and succeeded in turning the TV off. Visiting the Novotel Tainui soon? I suggest first orienting oneself with the remote before watching television.

On our ludicrously early flight out (by the way I refer to myself and the communications director I was travelling with) was the lovely Irene van Dyk, goal-shoot for my beloved BOP Magic. She had also been our flight up and I had taken the opportunity to get a signature (for my Mum who couldn’t get to the final because it got moved to poxy Southland). In contrast to the rugby players van Dyk was very chatty and just lovely. I guy I know through the 48hours competition works for the National Bank doing promotions and he said he’s met a lot of netballers and that they are all really nice and chatty, but that the All Blacks that he’s met were as I described.

Irene remembered us and said a cheery (especially for 6.30am) “Hello again”. I like to think that my words of encouragement spurred her and the Magic to victory over the Sting.

Suffer Sting, Suffer!

Oh I forgot to mention. We bumped into some of the Balmy Army and were told that this is fact a misnomer. The Balmy Army follows cricket NOT rugby. Also it was the name given to the English cricket supporters by the Aussies. Makes more sense now doesn’t it? Any how, these guys were very nice and very chatty. I suggest if you see of the Army you say hello and make them feel welcome, they love their rugby just as much as we do and do enjoy a bit of a laugh. Don’t be a dick (after all they are spending their money here).

Monday, June 13, 2005

[Sports] All Black selection HOWLer

Hadyn: There's a good article in the Herald about how pissed of Waikato supporters are that Marty Holah isn't in the team. One guy mentioned that McCaw has had a lot of concussions recently and it would be stupid not to have a back up.

Gibbs: I think its pretty gash, this "squad" idea. If Richie gets injured or whatever, Marty will go straight into the starting 15 for the next test. Its all about the reserve bench make-up and on-field cover. I think they do have it right in that sense. Having a dedicated openside on the bench does narrow it [the bench] slighty. And rodney or jerry can cover openside reasonably well. It's interesting though, cos Hen-dog said at the start they've got very little chance of matching the Lions physically. Their game plan was going to be about mobility. So why then is Sione Lauaki in the team? and Ali Williams ahead of Gibbes. Having James Ryan on the bench as your only lock cover (none of the backrow can play there) is a bit suspect as well.
I'll contradict myself a little and say while an opensider does narrow the bench,
Australia proved that having two opensiders on the field can be pretty effective.

And still on mobility, How is Dog Howlett in there again?? (sorry about the title pun)

I think Joe Rokocoko can feel pretty hard done by. He and Howlett played in the same average blues team. Behind a pack that was going backwards and a backline that was never the same week in week out. I’d like to know more about the season the blues had (hadyn – can you chip in with some stats?). I don’t think it was as bad as it was made out to be. They got beaten by better teams on the day, ie Hurricanes, but a couple of results their way and they would have made the play-offs.

Anyway, so Joe and Doug had virtually the same seasons. If they, actually no, if Joe had been playing for Canterbury he would have scored 12 tries just like Rico (Actually I think they would have scored a dozen apiece). So All black trial comes along, Dog gets a spot, presumably cos hes an incumbent, while Joe gets shipped off to Rugby bootcamp, for 4 weeks with the hardest taskmaster in all of sports, Sevens Guru Gordon Teijtens. He scores a bootload of tries, increases his fitness and confidence. He watches Dog have a so-so trial, sees him fall forward over the line twice for tries in a training run, poorly disguised as a test match, then, watches him pinch his test jersey or at least his place in the squad.

No wonder the English scribes are shaking their heads and the B I L backs are giving thanks to the rugby gods. If I had the choice of chasing down, or at least attempting to, a 105 kg win who’s faster than a greyhound and has scored 27 tries in 23 tests and a 90kg wing who’s had his day and is on the way out, I know who I’d chose and it wouldn’t be Joe. And if I was Jason Robinson, I know who I’d rather be running at.

Sivivatu deserves his place. Blinding pace, a big fend, defense (Doug cant even spell the word), confidence and enthusiasm mean Sivivatu will be a frightening prospect for the Lions. The starting wings should, on form and talent, be Gear and Sivivatu. I imagine they want an old hand around for some reason, but I think Gear has proved on the end o season trip last year, hes more than capable of rising to the occasion. Hes quicker than Doug and a damn sight more reliable.

And Doug’s just a pretty boy Aucklander.

As we speak the Spurs, who I at the end of the second round of the play-offs when they beat The Sonics (my fav team - Damnit) are looking good for the NBA title leading 2-0. They have held the supposedly super defence team to two scores of less than 80 and piled on 90 odd themselves in both games. The series moves to the cauldron of Detroit for the next games. So we may see the results turn, but I just don’t think so. Tim Duncan is the Pete Sampras of basketball. Boringly consistent, lacking in any type of appeal, but totally bankable.

[General] Excuses Excuses

Sorry for the lack of posts vigilant readers (and vigilante readers).

I have been oppressed by the corporate state (also know as the coprolite state when typing too fast, look up “coprolite” it’s funny). “They” don’t want my freedom of speech and they have put a “gag order” on me.

Actually before you all go looking for a petition to sign, I should say that I have just been blogging a bit too much at work and they’ve asked me very politely to stop. So after this one (God I hope they don’t get me) I’ll be blogging from home. This will take a while because I have to get broadband installed.

So sit tight and maybe José, Dave and Dom will have some stuff to say.

Dom thinks the Spurs will win the NBA (if they haven’t already) so maybe Dave will say something about that.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

[General] I swear, the stuff about rugby is coming!

Continuing with my policy of not blogging about what happened the day before, here is yet another quick off-topic post before the main event.

I need these to “warm up”. I have only just had breakfast this minute (despite waking at 6.30am) and it takes a while for the brain cells to accelerate to full speed. Peanut Butter on Vogels toast helps a lot though.

Firstly, the NZ Herald has broadened its repertoire to include “humour”. It has given “10 reasons we are not a Nation-Obsessed-by-Rugby”. We were called this by one of the 146,789 management staff that Sir Clive Woodward has brought with him on tour. By the way it’s “humour” not humour because it is so unbelievably not funny.

The Herald also has a short piece about the new Batman movie: Batman Begins. I recently got invited to the Wellington premiere of War of the Worlds. But I wanted to take my partner and wasn’t allowed, so I will see it with the Hoi Polloi. By the way, this is the Steven Spielberg version not the H.G. Wells version which has been made by Pendragon Pictures. Pendragon has followed the book as closely as possible but has a much smaller budget (it has been funded by some Microsoft execs). The latest trailer is here. There is a third version which will also be released this year with the title “H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds”, just to confuse you. This third version is the cheap, made-for-video version of the Spielberg film and stars C. Thomas Howell and Jake Busey. Avoid this one at all costs.

Dolphins are using tools! Human Race, are you listening, we are screwed. This reminds me of two things: first the Onion article that reported that Dolphins had evolved opposable thumbs; second Douglas Adams. So Long and Thanks for all the Fish.

Lastly (for this post)…
If you are reading this because you are bored at work, get out now! Boring jobs have been proved to be killers.

But come back and read more when you’re at home and all relaxed.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

[General] Sorry not yet

This is another off-topic quick blog.

For those stuck at work and wondering what's going on in the world I suggest the latest updates at Get Your War On.

Clip Art has never been so topical.

[Sport] Blue and Yellow Blood

Why didn’t I have time yesterday to write about the Bay of Plenty/Lions game? All in good time my impatient friend.

First let me say that if you want breakfast in Rotorua, wait until 9am. At 8.30am (when I wanted breakfast) only the worst places are open. Follow my example and go for a stroll to the lakeside. Take some photos or just enjoy the stillness. Then at 9am go to Zippy’s Café. Best café in Rotorua and an honourable mention for the best café in New Zealand. The people are friendly and the food and coffee are good. Real good.

I sat there eating my cooked breakfast (to paraphrase: when watching the Lions, eat as the Balmy Army would eat) and after yarning to the owners started writing about my experiences of the previous evening. I have just opened my book and here is what I wrote:

As with every large event, getting in is easier than getting out. We cruised through the gate security. José had a big bag with a cushion in it (he doesn’t like sitting on concrete, it’s his piles, shhhh) and a camera bag. Neither of them was searched by the diligent men of the Red Badge security agency. As we walked in José said “I could have a bottle of Vodka in here”. We chided him for not doing just that.

We were sitting in the right place for the first few minutes of the game. Josh Lewsey’s two tries came in the corner we were sitting beside. 14 minutes in, the Bay 17 points down. Our only consolation was that Ryan O’Gara couldn’t kick his way out of a paper bag.

The game, at that point, sucked. And I texted my friend to tell him so.

Then something happened, something stirred in the blue-and-yellow hearts of the Bay players. Perhaps they realised what was going on (that the Lions were just an Auckland team dressed in Red); perhaps it was when Lawrence Dallaglio was injured (no, the Bay was on a roll well before then); perhaps after a couple of tackles missed, a couple of line outs stolen and more than a few knock-ons by the Lions that the Bay boys said: “Nope, we can beat these f*ckers!”

BOP Captain Wayne Ormond winning the ball.

BOP No.8 Colin Bourke got round on the left wing for the Bay’s first try. Then, a penalty and converted try to the Bay’s new acquisition Murray Williams and before the Lions knew it the score was 17-17 but the Bay had the advantage.

The loss of Dallaglio was very easily seen. The Lions looked less spirited somehow. Just a quick note on Larry Da-lally: although he had a dislocated and broken ankle he still left his jersey behind for his opposite number on the Bay team (try-scorer Colin Bourke).

Half time saw the introduction (and then dis-introduction) of two streakers to the pitch. TV audiences will be saying “we didn’t see that”, and you’d be right. It’s one of the joys of going to see live sport. Television does not cover streakers anymore as they do not wish to encourage it. (I’m going off-topic, but don’t worry I’ll come back soon). The internet casino Golden Palace has been sponsoring streakers and others to disrupt sporting and other events as publicity for themselves. Remember those two guys who came out and dangled their privates at Andrew Mehrtens before he kicked a penalty against Australia a few years ago? Golden Palace was partly behind that. The streakers at the Bay/Lions game were a naked man (who must have been very cold) and a topless woman (who didn’t/couldn’t run too fast). The security guards were nice enough to the young lady but really too harsh on the young bloke. The crowd booed.

This seems to be a good place to mention the crowd’s antics. At the start there was an attempt to teach the Bay supporters a song to counter the Balmy Army.

With the tune of The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens:
In the Plenty
The Bay of Plenty
The Lions lose tonight
It didn’t work and no one was going to sing it.

We were in the terraces opposite the main grandstand. Everyone was trying to sit but there were some dissenters. Just before the game kicked off everyone started to sit. Some Lions supporters near the front didn’t and got a bollocking from the crowd (us included). One of the Lions supporters turned and said: “Sit down? F*ck that!” The he realised that he was the only one left standing and had to sheepishly back down. We missed the Bay’s second try due to idiots not being able to find their seats and standing in the aisles (i.e. right in our way). The Red Badge guys moved them on after a short while (a short while too long).

It’s funny the small communities that are created in crowds of a like mind. Someone would shout out a question like “What time is the Lomu/Johnson match tomorrow?” and then someone else would yell out the answer.

After O’Gara’s first missed conversion of the second half one guy near us started to chant “You’re no Jonny Wilkinson”. That has to be the best chant I have ever heard. The streakers had come from our section as well.

Back to the game. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the beginning of the second half. The lions scored first but Ryan O’Gara still couldn’t convert. He ended the night with two from six (33.3%).

The Bay came within two points and then the Lions scored two much deserved tries, to put the match away.

Bernie Upton was the BOP Man of the Match for me, for his brilliant work in the lineout. He should get a call up to the All Blacks extended team, especially if James Ryan doesn’t do well against Fiji. Special mention to hooker Aleki Latui, awesome performance.

Josh Lewsey was definitely the Lions best player, even though he and Brian O’Driscoll weren’t as effective on defence in the middle of the game.

After the match I caught up with Hori BOP, the BOP’s “mascot”. He’s the one on the left.
Me and Hori BOP

We agreed that the game went well for the Bay and that New Zealand Netball is horrible. I asked him if he was going to go down for the final, he said he was looking for a sponsor.

I discovered that the All Black coaching-staff were staying in the same hotel as I was. I thought: “Now’s the time to go and tell them about the bonus point system and ask their opinion about the new NPC and whether any of the Bay boys impressed them”. But then I saw that they didn’t look happy. Also they kind of looked and carried themselves like a bunch of thugs. So I thought better of it and instead grabbed some “paparazzi style” photos of them eating.

[Note: Photos to be added at a later date due to $%#&ing camera problems]

The story now comes full circle with me back in Zippy’s Café writing.

But what was I doing that meant I couldn’t tell this story yesterday?
I had to travel to Hamilton to meet the Māori All Blacks. Hardcore!!

More on that later, digest this post first. And I will try to get the photos for you as well.

[General] Trees need hugs too.

Just a quick post before I get back to the main story.

There's a new link on the side: Treehugger.com

It's consumer capatalism with a conscience.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

[Sport] Happy Birthday Your Majesty

Hands up who saw the BOP/Lions match on Queen's Birthday weekend.
Keep your hands up if you were in the crowd at Rotorua watching it.

Yep, I was! My first international match (I’ll see the All Blacks eventually; I’m just waiting for a corporate box invitation). What a game!

But let’s try and do this chronologically.

The Sting beat the Force and will host the National Bank Cup Final. I threw a long train of expletives at the television when Sting coach, Robyn Broughton, said that she felt for the Magic, but that the Sting were over the moon at being able to host another final. I discovered through certain sources that Shelley McMeekan lied on national television when she said to John Campbell that Netball New Zealand (NNZ) wouldn’t make any money out the final. It turns out, according to my source, that NNZ will take 20% of the ticket sales (the Sting get 50% and the Magic get 30%).

The whole thing gets dirtier and dirtier though.

Magic chief executive Sheryl Dawson said it had asked to use Diamonds home ground of Waitakere Stadium as an alternative home ground but NNZ board had rejected the idea.
What?! First check out this map (pdf file) and have a look at the places the Magic franchise covers. Are there NO venues in this entire region? Second the disputed Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre has held regular season games, why can’t it host a final?

I spoke briefly to Hori BOP after the Bay game he said basically that he was pissed off and he was currently looking for a sponsor to fly him down to Invercargill.

I have an idea. If the Magic go down and win, it will be huge. But if they lose, then no one will remember their struggle, they will only remember the Sting winning title #7. So what the Magic should do is: not show up.

Flying the team and support staff down will cost heaps of money, hardly any Magic fans will make the journey (I will be proved wrong here) and the team doesn't even benefit from it. A boycott of the match will show NNZ that their management style is not appreciated. The Magic could, instead, show up at the QEYC and sign autographs and maybe put on an exhibition match for their hometown fans. Hey, passive resistance worked for Ghandi.

I nipped across the road to the pub at about 4pm to catch the game (everyone else was watching on a big screen provided by work, but I wanted a beer while I watched it). Dom met me a little while later and we watched in horror as the Fijians ran rampant. It was kind of unfair on the Māori because the Fijians were playing Sevens. All of them, even the forwards, even 165kg “Big“ Bill Cavubati, the world’s heaviest ever rugby test player.

It looked tome like the Māori were struggling in the heat. Marty Holah was missing his usual headgear (and got a stomping on his face) and everyone was dripping sweat. The ground looked like rock as well. I expect we’ll see an improvement on their game when they play the Lions on Saturday (7.10pm on Sky). Does anyone know why all the games are being played at 7.10pm? We believe it’s something to do with the British television audience. If you do know please leave a comment.

I would like to say that I was under the impression that the players who had opted out of the trial game to play for the NZ Maori and the BOP were still eligible to be selected for the All Blacks. While this seems to be true for the Maori it doesn’t seem to be true for the BOP.

Bernie Upton worked really well in the BOP line out during their match against the Lions include a few wins against the throw, but didn’t get a call. Not even to just join the practice squad. Still it would be very stink for the players who did play well in the trial (like James Ryan) to miss out.

The trail went really well for the most part, though I found it slightly boring with most of the “big” players out, like Umaga, Oliver, most of the Crusaders, and all the guys in the NZ Māori. The side has been named and a few players have missed out, according to Graham Henry, due to “niggly injuries”. Like Ma’a Nonu and Anton Oliver. But hang on, Mils Muliaina is in the squad and he pulled out of the trail with a shoulder injury. You weren’t lying were you Mils?

Sitivini Sivivatu was absolutely awesome though. No one could deny that. Byron Kelleher also did his Jack Russell Terrier impersonation going hardcore for his time on the field.

That’s the weird thing about All Black trials: the good players get subbed off.

Right next up:

Actually I do not have time today to blog about this game. See you tomorrow with stories and photos.

[General] Warm-up Blog

From one of my favourite blogs: Kung Fu Monkey.

The 1st Law of Marketing: Nail any two random pieces of wood together, into any random configuration, and some idiot, somewhere ... will buy it.

2nd Law of Marketing: Porn Drives Technology.

This last part refers to:

Photography, magazine printing, home movie equipment both camera and projectors, the evolution of video cameras, VCR's, cable, the Interweb -- all advanced in tech and exploded into the mainstream as soon as their usefulness to getting porn from over there to over here became apparent. If it allowed you to make your own porn -- well then, gold mine. So I say, march on, merchants of filth! March on, into ... the FUTURE!
Add in DVDs as well, all those special feature things like different camera angles etc were apparently developed for adult movies first. Have a look at what is happening to the PSP (PlayStation Portable).

Stuff about my weekend (including photos) coming soon…

Friday, June 03, 2005

[Sport] Confused Yet? NPC 2006 review

NPC 2006. What an exciting time for New Zealand Rugby. (To non-regular readers: I am being sarcastic).

Good ideas:
  • Allowing all 14 provinces into the “Premier Division” (although this goes against the November 2003 Competitions Review)
  • Splitting the 14 teams into two pools
  • Keeping the salary cap
  • Ummm, that’s about it

Not-so-good ideas:

  • Everything else

The two pools will be based on seedings which will be based on the results of the previous year (i.e. if it was based on last years standings, Canterbury is the #1 seed, then Wellington, then BOP, then Waikato etc). We can only assume that the four teams from the current second division will take the last four rankings (11th-14th)

Thankfully the pools will be mixed up. So, again, if Canterbury and Wellington are the top seeded teams then they will be put into different pools. By the way, last night’s news reports gave no details regarding the actual running of the new NPC so I had to find out myself (and I’m not even a paid journalist, yet).

Each team will play six games in a round robin against the other teams in its pool (Round One). This will take seven weeks because for some reason they need a bye week (considering what is to come there are plenty of other places that would be better for a rest but… [Shrug]).

This is where it gets really loopy. After Round One the top six teams (which is defined as the top three from each pool, not the top six overall) will be split from the bottom eight to play a second round (the imaginatively named: Round Two).

The Top Six
The Top Six (because the NZRU gives them capital letters) teams play the three teams that they didn’t get to play in Round One. All the points received for Round One transfer through to Round Two. The three teams with the most points after Round One will get two home games and one away (vice versa for the lower teams). So basically the rich teams (and I am talking money now) will get richer, through more home games.

Here’s a good one though: ALL TEAMS from the Top Six will go through to the Quarterfinals. All of them. So, um, why bother? Just for a brief chance at a reshuffle of the rankings for the quarterfinals? Doesn’t seem like a lot of effort and complication to just…wait a minute! To quote BOP mascot Hori BOP (talking about the netball finals): “I smell money!” The big teams, who will presumably be at the top, will get more home games with heaps of fans and can just keep grabbing money, which the NZRU can turn into dollars (through TV etc).

I’m not really that naïve. I understand that when the NZRU say that this “will help NZ rugby develop” what they mean is “it will bring in sh*tloads of money for us so we can help NZ rugby”.

The Bottom Eight
Actually the NZRU understands that this name would be demoralising and instead have called it Repechage A & Repechage B. The Bottom Eight will be split into two repechages of four teams (again mixed by their results from Round One). These two repechages will play a round robin tournament with the winners of each moving to the Quarterfinals as the 7th and 8th seeds respectively. Unlike the Top Six, points from Round One will not transfer through to Round Two.

Feeling a little confused yet? Don’t worry because it gets better, but then it gets worse. Oh and check below for a lovely diagram from the NZRU to help you.

From the quarterfinals (and this is where the bye week should be for all teams going to the play-offs) the tournament runs like the normal single-elimination play-off situation we know and love. Your final standings determine your rank for next year and round we go again.

Here’s where it falls down a bit though. As you can see in the diagram below, if your team is particularly bad then you will play (a minimum of) nine games with only four of those at home. So if you are like Manawatu (and I am not picking on the Mighty Manawatu, they are just ranked last in the diagram), you don’t have a lot of money to start with, the sports pundits are worried about your long-term fiscal outlook and think you might fold financially as a club and then the NZRU (who are developing NZ rugby) only give you four home games in a season.

I think that the Round Two needs to be renamed as “The Money Round”. The two main ideas behind seems to be:

  • Make money off the better provinces and
  • Give the smaller provinces a chance to win a few more games, and so make more money.

Also, why is this new system so complicated?

Two pools of seven, each team plays all others in its pool (six games) plus another two teams from the other pool (two games), throw in a bye week and you’ve got yourself a nine week regular season with an equal number of home and away games.

Has anybody thought about the ramifications of having eight teams make the play-offs? This means 57% (more than half) of the teams will get to the post-season. This means that a team with a losing record can make the play-offs. ::cough:: I think. It’s so bloody hard to figure out with this system.

But some things haven’t changed. The NZRU has clutched tightly to the one thing that really made the NPC special.

Oops. Sorry, that should read: “the one thing that really made the NPC farcical”. I am naturally referring to the bonus point system.

[From the NZRU, New Competitions Information Summary, 2 June 2005]

  • Points for the Premier Division will be the same as for the current Air New Zealand
    NPC, that is:
    a. 4 points for a win;
    b. 2 points for a draw;
    c. 1 point for losing by 7 or fewer points; and
    d. 1 point for scoring 4 or more tries

At this point I would like to refer you to almost everything I ever have written about rugby on this blog. In particular this example:

Two teams play to a draw at full time. One team scores two converted tries and two penalties and comes away with 2points. The other team scores four unconverted tries and comes away with 3points.

Surprisingly, bonus points do NOT show up in the event of a tiebreaker (where they are, arguably, best used). A quick note about tiebreaks: while it is highly unlikely, a quarter or semi-final could be decided by coin toss, this seems wrong somehow.

To conclude this section: bonus points suck, get rid of them.

Here’s the diagram I promised:
Image taken from NZRU New Competitions Information Summary 2005